⇒“I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.” -The Kissing Game by Marie Harte ⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebook Casablanca, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Marie Harte
(2.86 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Adult Romance / Contemporary
Publication Date: February 4, 2020, by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 320 (Kindle version)
…to say Rena was a romantic was like saying Picasso had toyed with painting.
Picture your perfect Valentine’s Day celebration. Does it involve an embarrassingly large flower delivery? An uber-cuddly teddy bear holding a dozen red roses? Or maybe an insanely big diamond being handed to you by the man of your dreams who just happens to be down on one knee? Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate love, but it’s also a day that can pack on the pressure – especially if your relationship is anything like Rena and Axel’s. Check out the blurb…
Rena Jackson is ready. She’s worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she’s almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena’s also a diehard romantic, and she’s had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He’s got that tall-brooding-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he’s got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Rena’s about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right. Game on. At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He’s been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he’s way out of his depth and she’s slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play.
I try to forget I want a boyfriend, a lover, a friend who’ll put me first. But that desire for love is always there.
You’ve got a beautiful, single, driven woman and you’ve got a handsome, single, successful, dedicated man; it’s a recipe for a classic love story, right? Mmm… maybe. You’ve got the love story part right anyway. But nothing about Rena and Axel’s love story could be considered “classic”.
He’s a giant, moody brawler, and she’s a headstrong businesswoman longing for a real-life love. So what could possibly keep them apart? Try a violent father, bad timing, and a gang of white supremacists. Yeah, that’ll do it.
Heller is great and all, but he’s too wild. And honestly, I don’t think he could romance his way out of a kissing booth.
OK, so this romance has some serious draws – a hunky leading man and a charming leading lady, some serious roadblocks to love, and a large supporting cast that keeps the dialog busy. So why only 2 stars?
Well, I had no preconceived notions going into this cute-covered romance. It’s my first by this author, so I had no idea what to expect or what I’d be getting into. Turns out, although the premise was entirely appealing, the actual story was less than it had the potential to be. There was a lot of repetitive action and several senseless misunderstandings that seemed manufactured for the sake of adding conflict. Guys, I really, really wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did.
However, if you are looking for a quick, VDay-themed, sex-infused romance, or if you’re just really into hot German men – oh, and hunky firefighters! – then don’t count this one out.
The Kissing Game is available February 4, 2020 at any of the following retailers:
Award-winning author Marie Harte has been writing professionally since 2005. She’s both a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and has written over 110 books and counting. Marie writes books with heat and humor.
-Bio courtesy of marieharte.com